Mary Beth Writes

When Len was building this website he put in a lot of random stuff and this was one of those unexpected insertions.

 But now that it's here - let's leave it. 

Lincoln was a brilliant and compassionate man. When I'm tempted to say foolish things about the US, I remember that we are also the nation of Lincoln. Not a saint, not a hero, but thoughtful, determined and very brave.

Fellow-Countrymen: 

 At this second appearing to take the oath of the Presidential office there is less occasion for an extended address than there was at the first. Then a statement somewhat in detail of a course to be pursued seemed fitting and proper. Now, at the expiration of four years, during which public declarations have been constantly called forth on every point and phase of the great contest which still absorbs the attention and engrosses the energies of the nation, little that is new could be presented. The progress of our arms, upon which all else chiefly depends, is as well known to the public as to myself, and it is, I trust, reasonably satisfactory and encouraging to all. With high hope for the future, no prediction in regard to it is ventured.

On the occasion corresponding to this four years ago all thoughts were anxiously directed to an impending civil war. All dreaded it, all sought to avert it. While the inaugural address was being delivered from this place, devoted altogether to saving the Union without war, insurgent agents were in the city seeking to destroy it without war—seeking to dissolve the Union and divide effects by negotiation. Both parties deprecated war, but one of them would make war rather than let the nation survive, and the other would accept war rather than let it perish, and the war came.

One-eighth of the whole population were colored slaves, not distributed generally over the Union, but localized in the southern part of it. These slaves constituted a peculiar and powerful interest. All knew that this interest was somehow the cause of the war. To strengthen, perpetuate, and extend this interest was the object for which the insurgents would rend the Union even by war, while the Government claimed no right to do more than to restrict the territorial enlargement of it. Neither party expected for the war the magnitude or the duration which it has already attained. Neither anticipated that the causeof the conflict might cease with or even before the conflict itself should cease. Each looked for an easier triumph, and a result less fundamental and astounding. Both read the same Bible and pray to the same God, and each invokes His aid against the other. It may seem strange that any men should dare to ask a just God's assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men's faces, but let us judge not, that we be not judged. The prayers of both could not be answered. That of neither has been answered fully. The Almighty has His own purposes. "Woe unto the world because of offenses; for it must needs be that offenses come, but woe to that man by whom the offense cometh." If we shall suppose that American slavery is one of those offenses which, in the providence of God, must needs come, but which, having continued through His appointed time, He now wills to remove, and that He gives to both North and South this terrible war as the woe due to those by whom the offense came, shall we discern therein any departure from those divine attributes which the believers in a living God always ascribe to Him? Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman's two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said "the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether."

With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation's wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.

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It's not SIMPLE life, it's Simpler Life

I can speak to the luxuries and adventures that happen when one pursues a simpler life.

What are things to consider and enjoy?

Knowing oneself well enough to know what you want from your mortal life.

Where to live.

What to drive (or not drive).

What projects to tackle and which ones to let lie low.

What to wear.

How to splurge with joy and not worry.

When to go out and when to stay home.

Friends, company, cats and pups.

How do you design and live your own authentic, generous, rewarding life?

How to Retire on Less than a Half Million

I wrote that line! "If growing up is the process of creating ideas and dreams about what life should be, then maturity is letting go again."  Somebody made the poster without asking, so I use the poster without asking....

...

I'm not Financial Planner - don't come to me for Money Rules For a Retirement Income That Will Not Fail.

I am a thinker and observer. And  we are retired (on less than a half million) and we love this part of our lives.

The Simple Art of Raising Children in your Spare Time

It's not hard to find experts who will teach us how to manage our children.  But that both exhausts and bores me; I don't want a system.  I don't want to maximize my kids' potential - whatever that might mean. 

Kids are not adventure equipment, or status symbols, or raw material to channel through the factory of my ego-whims.

I am not here to tell you how to get your kid to eat her lunch, go to bed on time, or to devise a homework schedule.  I used many child rearing techniques in my 20 years of parenting, but almost every "system" eventually fell away. 

Who We Welcome is Who We Are - The Book of Ruth

I was raised on Bible stories. I like to go back and see what they mean to us now.

The Old Testament/Hebrew scriptures story of Ruth – Surprise, Surprise! - is not the particular romance of Ruth and Boaz. It IS a story of dangerous poverty, racism, and sexism – and what happened when good adults welcomed each other in an unsafe place and time.

….

There is a huge and powerful message going on that says what’s wrong with society is foreign people, especially foreign women, lax morals, and lack of respect for the laws, rules, and customs of olden times.

"Do You Have a Question?" AKA the Life of Faith

 

What does “the path of faith” mean, anyhow?  How do we find and get on it? How do we grow in faith to become people who shine with courage and compassion?

In this sermon I acknowledge my own story from my strict beginnings in a Fundamentalist home and church.  (I can pretty much promise there will be some laughing.)

I acknowledge that what pulled me forward into my life weren’t other people’s answers, but my questions.

Guatemala - An Education in Respect and Empathy

We North Americans have much to learn about poverty in the developing world and about what we can do to support our fellow humans who live in struggling-to-dire circumstances.

….

In 2002 I went to Guatemala with my then 17-year old daughter. We traveled there because one of the best friends of my life, Kathleen Morkert, had become the Exec Director of MayaWorks and she told me I ought to do this. (If you knew Kathleen, you’d probably do what she told you to do also. Hi, Kathleen!)

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